In a letter to Governor Newsom this week, CFA member leaders are asking Newsom to modify his January budget proposal for 2023-24 by reinvesting in higher education and restricting funding to direct instruction of students.

“First, we ask that you and the Legislature address the accelerating underfunding of the CSU by providing additional resources above the level specified in the Compact. Current funding levels are inadequate for a sustainable and effective education system,” reads CFA’s letter to Newsom. “Second, we ask that you reconsider the practice of providing undesignated funding increases to the CSU and instead provide the CSU with more direction as to the intent of the State in providing those resources. We urge you to require the CSU to devote additional resources to Direct Instruction – that is, supporting the instructors and staff that give students the education and collegiate experience they deserve.”

In his January budget proposal, Governor Gavin Newsom proposed honoring his five-year compact agreement with the CSU. This compact agreement would increase the CSU system’s base fund by five percent or around $227 million. The announcement kicked off negotiations that will lead to a 2023-24 state budget.

Modest increases, though, do not address real issues in the CSU. The legacy of prolonged underfunding of the CSU still requires investment levels to offset ongoing economic inequities for faculty, staff, and students living in the most expensive state in the nation. The faculty and staff who provide direct services to students are overworked and underpaid.

Student success – particularly for students who identify as Black, Chicanx/Latinx, Native and Indigenous, and/or Asian American, Pacific Islander and Desi American – is facilitated by offering smaller class sizes, hiring and retaining more faculty of color, expanding access to mental health counselors, and establishing student resource centers on every campus, among other student-centered programs. It’s providing one semester of paid parental leave (instead of only 30 days) for all workers, especially employees of color who identify as women and who bear the brunt of childcare responsibilities. These are the investments students need and deserve.

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